LIBERTY, Mo. -- A middle school principal is on leave following a serious bullying incident that took place in the school’s cafeteria. Liberty Middle School Principal Dan Weakley stated in a letter to parents that he’s been granted a leave of absence for personal reasons and is resigning at the end of the school year.
Assistant principal Shirley Kantola will serve as the interim principal for the remainder of the school year. A former assistant principal in the school district, Kaysie Wahlert, will serve as interim assistant principal.
Twelve-year-old Blake Kitchen was severely beaten by another student in February and spent four days at Children’s Mercy Hospital recovering. Blake’s mom said he returned to school on Monday following doctor’s clearance. FOX 4 spoke with Destiny Kitchen on Tuesday, and she said while she's not sure how she feels about the principal's resignation, she does think he's partly to blame for what happened to her son.
"I feel that if he would've took my concerns more aggressively, then Blake would've never been hurt. If he would've listened to me and my parents, when they sent that certified letter in and stated that this child was a problem, then Blake would've never, it never would've happened, I never would've been in the hospital being traumatized. This never would've happened," she said.
The 14-year-old boy who beat Blake appeared before a judge last week when he was referred to the Missouri Division of Youth Services. The judge told him that he needs to get his anger under control.
Principal Weakley said in his letter that the school district has granted additional administrative support in the wake of his leave. He concluded by saying that he enjoyed his eight years at the school and will miss interacting with the students and the community.
Liberty Public Schools also released this statement:
“LPS would like to thank Mr. Weakley for his 8 years of service to the district. While we respect the decision made by Mr. Weakley, we also would ask that others respect his decision and allow he and his family privacy. We also echo his wish for the school community to support its students and staff with continued high levels of teaching and learning within the building for the remainder of this school year and beyond."